Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers will break down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2017 NBA Draft. Included is an updated mock draft that reflects how each writer sees the draft landscape based on the latest news, workouts, and information from the pre-draft process.
After watching 90 minutes of Draft Lottery pre-show to deliver about 180 seconds of actual information, we now know the order of this draft and can start making some more educated guesses about where guys may land based on need. Nothing here changes the idea of Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball as the first two players off the board, and in fact it seems more likely than ever that the Balls will get their wish to stay close to home. I sort of wanted to see Ball someplace that would make the Ball pater familias miserable, but so it goes. On the bright side, this particular draft has Ball’s UCLA teammate T.J. Leaf also falling to the Lakers at #28, so we may as well make it a full-on homecoming.
The bright side for Sacramento, meanwhile, despite losing a top-three pick, is that they’re still going to get a franchise cornerstone at #5, and that could very well be De’Aaron Fox. The Kings have needed a franchise point guard for years, and Fox would certainly solve that problem and give the woeful Kings a backcourt they can build around in Fox and Buddy Hield.
Josh Jackson to Philadelphia would be a delightful fit, and while Suns fans were bummed to fall out of the top three, Jayson Tatum is a strong consolation prize. New York will be happy if Malik Monk falls to them, which is possible, while Denver could potentially steal Frank Ntilikina and add some much needed stability at the point guard position. After having talked with him a bit a the Combine, Ivan Rabb feels like a Chicago Bulls kind of guy. My guess is GarPax is going to love him. I can’t get away from Anigbogu in Milwaukee. He’s exactly their kind of pick–young, long, athletic and unproven. Brooklyn’s picks are questionable, but they sort of have to reach for the sky, and Diallo and Jeanne offer some of the higher upside of anybody who still would be available that late in the draft.
Also, you have no idea how badly I wanted to put Sindarius Thornwell in the first round. I’m a believer, and I think his stock will rise as interviews and workouts take place over the next several weeks. He seems destined for the early second round, at worst.
The Boston Celtics hit the jackpot while the worst nightmare for the Brooklyn Nets became a reality.
Brooklyn technically won the lottery, but was forced to swap the No. 1 overall pick with Boston’s No. 27 pick as part of the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trade. In addition, Boston will also acquire Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick to complete the trade.
Meanwhile, things didn’t go much better for the local team across the river. The New York Knicks dropped one spot to the No. 8 pick, the same position where the team missed out on selecting Stephen Curry in 2009.
On a positive note, Earvin Johnson proved why his nickname is “Magic” as the Lakers earned the No. 2 pick, which allows the organization to keep its pick. The Lakers, however, will send next year’s first-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers. Will Lonzo Ball land in Los Angeles and be able to bring back the “Showtime” Lakers?
Los Angeles’ former Western Conference playoff rival also had a good night at the lottery. The Sacramento Kings landed the No. 5 and No. 10 selections, which allows them the opportunity to grab a long-term starting point guard and a small forward to replace Rudy Gay who is expected to depart in free agency.
Other teams with multiple picks include the Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, Brooklyn Nets, Utah Jazz and Orlando Magic. The Trail Blazers have three first-round draft picks and are likely to move at least one. Boston’s No. 1 pick could be dangled as trade bait to land a star on the trade market such as Jimmy Butler or Paul George. Or, Boston can keep the pick and swing for the fences with Gordon Hayward in free agency this summer. The Brooklyn Nets also have the No. 22 and 27 overall picks, which can be dangled to move up. One, or both, of those two picks and Brook Lopez, could make for an enticing trade package.
Ultimately, while the lottery provided its fair share of excitement, the actual draft should live up to just as much buzz.
The Lakers win, while the Knicks lose. That’s been the case for as long as we can remember in the NBA, so there’s a certain bit of irony in the fact that, just like in 2015, it happened. In the end, the Lakers move up one spot to almost ensure that they’ll land Lonzo Ball in the draft, whereas moving back one spot would have cost them not only this year’s pick, but their 2019 first rounder, as well. Meanwhile, instead of moving up, the Knicks move back one spot to select at eighth. I can’t help but to think about the 2015 lottery, where the Knicks held the second-best odds of winning the lottery, only to walk away with the fourth pick. The bright side? They managed to walk away with Kristaps Porzingis.
I’ve been saying for several week that the scouts with whom I’ve spoken have been cautioning against listening to the hype that has led up to this process. Fultz and Ball are a lock for the first two picks, however, after that, it’s difficult to know how the lottery plays out, and there are two words to explain why: Ben Simmons.
Without having seen Simmons play an NBA game, do the Sixers truly believe that he has the chops to be their primary playmaker on the ball? If so, does the team have the stones to pass on the traditional point guard that will be available to them at number three? Would the Sixers select Josh Jackson at that slot and further clutter their already cluttered front court? These are valid questions that have to be considered. Call it crazy, but I think that Malik Monk is the best fit for the Sixers, so in this week’s mock, at the top, I plug him in there. It’s a scenario that makes a ton of sense and one that could result in either Dennis Smith or De’Aaron Fox improbably falling to the Knicks at number eight.
If the Sixers pass on Jackson (which I think they will), the Suns will likely scoop him up. In some way, shape or form, the Sixers will determine whether the lottery plays out the way many expected it would, or whether we see a few surprises.
Aside from the Sixers, the other team that holds major cards is the Sacramento Kings. Many in the know opine that the Kings, even though they are having trouble getting top prospects to work out for them, are going to come away from this draft with a point guard and a wing player. At number five, they will have an opportunity to grab either Dennis Smith or Jaysum Tatum, so it will be interesting to see which way they go.
Over the next few weeks, if you want to have an idea how the lottery will play out, pay special attention to who the Sixers and Kings bring in, and what the streets are saying about what their respective front offices see as their major needs.
With the NBA Draft lottery out of the way and the draft order finally locked in, there are a few things worth knowing. Washington guard Markel Fultz now becomes the prohibitive favorite to go number one overall. While it was assumed by many that would be the case, it’s a bit more likely with Boston firmly in control of the top pick. Had the LA Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers or others jumped into the top spot, Lonzo Ball would have had a real shot at number one.
For the Celtics, the circus around Lonzo is unappealing from afar, although the Celtics are expected to work out several players, including Ball, before they lock in on a player.
The next popular thought is that the Lakers will take Ball with the second pick, which again seems likely and logical. However, Laker sources said at the Combine that they would look at positional need as well as upside in their process and they too will look at a lot of options. Lakers president Magic Johnson mirrored the idea at the Draft Lottery, making sure to mention Josh Jackson as a likely player they’ll meet with too.
So, while the 2017 NBA Draft may end up going as scripted – Fultz, then Ball – it’s not a certainty today, simply very likely.
The good news for the Philadelphia 76ers is they will have their pick of the litter with regards to remaining upside players, especially guard De’Aaron Fox and Forward Jason Taytum, who the Sixers are said to be very high on.
If the 76ers opt to address shooting, Tatum could be their guy, leaving a few interesting scenarios for the Phoenix Suns at number four – they could end up with Josh Jackson or De’Aaron Fox.
The Sacramento Kings look like they will be able to address their point guard need (Malik Monk or Dennis Smith Jr.) with the fifth overall selection by way of the draft pick swap with Philadelphia and still get another upside player at the ten spot.
The Orlando Magic slid back a projected spot to the sixth pick. The Magic opened their draft workouts with a visit with Dennis Smith Jr, setting the stage for how the first six selections may go.
- Nets’ Ben Simmons (back) to remain out for at least 2 more weeks
- Mavericks’ Luka Doncic welcomes first child with fiancée Anamaria Goltes
- Trail Blazers granted $5.8 million disabled player exception for Robert Williams III
- Kevin Durant passes Moses Malone for 10th on NBA’s all-time scoring list
- After 14 games with Kings, Sasha Vezenkov admits that the NBA is faster than EuroLeague
NBA 2 weeks ago
Josh Giddey, Underage Girl Go Viral After Leaked Photos On Social Media
NBA 7 days ago
Kevin Durant reveals he requested a trade out of Brooklyn because they didn’t ‘build an identity’
Main Page 2 weeks ago
LaMelo Ball becomes 2nd-fastest, 3rd-youngest player in NBA history to reach 500 career 3-pointers
Main Page 2 weeks ago
Timberwolves’ Jaden McDaniels out 2-3 weeks with right ankle sprain